The field staff of any company, mostly sales and service, meets the prospects, customers, partners and drives the sales funnel, realizes revenue and is the face of the organization to the world. Everyone acknowledges that they are the front-line. It is a section of the workforce that has some unique tech requirements across verticals (Healthcare, Pharma, Realty, Infrastructure, Insurance, Finance, Engineering, E-Commerce, FMCG, etc), yet the tech products they use are typically not designed for them. Most field staff don’t have the digital tools with workflows that suit their needs. A look at the current tech tools and how they integrate into the field force’s day-to-day activities reveal that to a large extent the software is actually meant for desk-based staff to do analysis and management to see dashboards. It is the “reports sell software” paradigm. This is ripe for disruption.
Sales and service activities like customer calls, tasks, meetings, sales pitches, account plans and following-up are routinely taken for granted. They are only recorded for compliance but not for insight. The only activity that teams can really impact are these tactical activities, but most systems only measure results, so it’s challenging to understand the root causes of field staff performance, both good and bad. This is going to change.
Sales and service leadership in any company, usually define the field activities that they think will lead to sales success, but does one know if those activities are taking place? If the success or failure is in the execution or the strategy ? For a business with an important element of field sales / service force, the non-availability of such data in real-time can significantly hamper decision-making. How does one ensure that the field “activity data” is obtained in a timely way and providing data-driven insights ?
Leaders need to steer their field force in the right direction with good, actionable objectives. If one is not confident that their field team is doing the right things every working day, then one might want to give some consideration to the fact that Activities drive Results. Tracking, collecting data about engagement frequency and face time and money spent on a customer gives a business the metadata of an opportunity or service cost. Capturing this information can provide the organization with new insights into the performance of the field force. It also empowers the field staff to defend good effort irrespective of market conditions.
In many organizations, the average annual turnover rate for field staff is high. Therefore, the management mandates the HR team to hire and on-board the new representative quickly so that the representative can start selling or servicing sooner. After that there is no mechanism or tool to monitor their daily productivity or guide/coach them. It is left to the individual managers. New sales and service field staff struggle to quantify the value of their various efforts, because the only metric seen is the “what” at the end of the quarter and not enough measurement and analysis of the “why” and “how” happens. This doesn’t lend itself to process improvements or identifying ways to improve team productivity. The company may even have good help for the new staff at hand, but cant give it at the right time.
In the current era of digital transformation, mobile based workflow applications will change this. New workflow applications for field force will enable workers to do their daily work better. The need is for products that appeal to field staff – salespeople, service reps. This will ensure usage. The workflow is the value proposition for the staff. The data from this usage will provide unique insight that traditional systems cannot provide and the management can take better and more actionable decisions.
OutWork by Guild Technologies is a mobile-first workflow solution for field force activity management.
Visit / Meeting Reporting
Every field employee has to report at the end of the work day to update a CRM or service tool or any similar system of record. Many a time, the data can be inaccurate as it is entered after some time lapse or never recorded at all. It is a chore and usually done with reluctance.
To make the workflow blend seamlessly into the work environment of the field force, the OutWork app provides reporting forms that the field employee can use to record the data. It is fast and easy. The benefits here are:
- Field data is available for action and decision-making. The data is immediate and accurate.
- The field force saves time on filing daily reports and field staff performance is supported with data.
Sales teams use marketing collateral, forms, videos, and other types of digital assets when interacting with prospects, customers, and partners. Instant access to the right content is critical to push a sales opportunity to the next level. Service teams use manuals and checklists. Both need this information at the right time with maximum accessibility. All of the above is possible when the content is accessible on the mobile and is managed centrally.
OutWork enables the administrator to upload the organizational content for access through the OutWork mobile app’s Resource Library. With the app, the digital assets to support the sales and service process are always available.
The field force routinely gets support requests and complaints and follow-up tasks. Today, the data and conversations about issues and support requests flow through a mix of communication channels such as emails, messaging apps, and voice calls. Data and conversations are part of the field force’s daily life and today they are managed in a very ad-hoc way.
OutWork with its easy app and powerful web-based admin helps channelize these support conversations into a single channel, with the Help Desk feature. You can define the various categories of help desk requests, track their closure and route the questions to the appropriate help desk.
Proof of a site visit is mandatory in certain sectors and it is considered desirable in many others. Currently, the field staff across verticals are dependent on what’s app, google maps. photos and even paper-based logs.
OutWork provides a GPS-based tracker (controlled by the end-user) to capture the location and the time of a visit, at the point of visit. Further, the field employee can categorize the time-sheet entry based on the purpose of the travel. OutWork’s field tracking can reduce the administrative burden of proof submission by eliminating the need for messaging or paper-based proof submission.
Accurate expense reports help maintain a healthy control on costs. Field staff find it to be a time-sucking task, a necessary evil. The management always wants to have an eye on the costs but only gets data at the end of the month. Manual procedures and separate systems in expense reporting are painfully old-fashioned and cumbersome, yet widely prevalent. Also with the silo-ed systems, it is difficult to establish whether the expense reports are contributing to the revenue appropriately and are in line with the service agreements.
OutWork makes this entire expense reporting, easy, real-time and addresses a mundane but pressing need of both the field employee and the manager.
Empowering Field Staff
Being a workflow product Outwork provides a practical and high impact advantage for its customers, because it provides the field staff (user) a fit-for purpose tool to be more productive and gives the management new insights that were previously invisible to them.
Makes the field staff’s reporting and data collection easier
Provides on-demand information to maximize the revenue impact of every rep.
Increases visibility into critical “activity KPIs” improving organizational insight
Keeps the field staff engaged in the right behavior to deliver higher revenue.
Identifies the patterns that help deliver superior customer engagement.
Unifies the workflow, content, and the ability to be responsive when in the field and with customers makes the salesman more engaged and likely to close a deal.
With OutWork the field employee has the right set of tools for his field activity. The OutWork admin web-console helps management generate reports based on various parameters. It is a complete field force activity management platform.